ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. MartinLogan Motion 20i

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
$2000 $2000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
36.60” × 6.80” × 11.70”
930mm × 173mm × 297mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 46-25,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity audio, the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speakers present two different philosophies. The compact ARB51 delivers a meticulously refined, self-powered experience with its acclaimed tri-amped design, offering superb clarity and convenience. Contrastingly, the Motion 20i towers, with their statuesque form, showcase MartinLogan's renowned Folded Motion tweeter for articulate highs and a dynamic bass performance, albeit requiring a separate amplifier. Both cater to the discerning listener, but the choice hinges on space, aesthetics, and the allure of integrated versus standalone amplification.

Speaker Comparison

When looking to elevate a home audio experience, one stands at a crossroads marked by the sleek, modern ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the stately MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speakers. Fans of both brands will argue vehemently for the supremacy of their favorite, but each speaker system brings its distinct symphony of strengths to the audiophile’s listening space. Diving into each model's unique audio profile and design philosophy can help users discover the perfect match for their acoustic preferences and room dynamics.

Design Philosophy and Build Quality

The ELAC ARB51 Navis is a testament to precision craftsmanship, with a no-nonsense, minimalistic approach that translates into a compact form factor perfect for the bookshelf. Meanwhile, the MartinLogan Motion 20i stands tall with its slender and elegant physique, making a statement not just in sound but also in presence. Both brands emphasize solid construction and quality materials, but the ELAC's self-contained, powered design contrasts with the passive nature of the MartinLogan, which requires an external amplifier to deliver its audio magic.

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis arrow (at Amazon.com)

Sound Characteristics

Acoustically, the ELAC ARB51 Navis offers a rich, textured soundstage that is impressively large for its size. It boasts a cohesive and seamless audio performance, thanks to its three-way design and dedicated drivers for each frequency range. On the flip side, the MartinLogan Motion 20i impresses with its distinct clarity and transparency, attributed to the brand’s iconic Folded Motion tweeter. Where the Navis provides warmth and depth, the Motion 20i offers crisp highs and articulate sonic details that can be a revelation, especially in well-recorded tracks.

Power and Performance

The self-powered ELAC ARB51 Navis eliminates the need for an external amplifier, offering a complete package for the listener who values simplicity and ease of setup. Each speaker houses its amplification, tailored specifically for its drivers, which results in an efficient system that is remarkably easy to place and use. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 20i's passive design allows audiophiles the freedom to pair them with an amplifier of their choice, potentially unlocking different nuances of the speakers' performance with varying power sources and character.

MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 20i arrow (at Amazon.com)

Another dimension to consider is the bass response. The ELAC ARB51, with its dedicated bass driver and built-in amplification, delivers controlled and deep low ends that belie its compact stature. The MartinLogan Motion 20i, with larger cabinet volume and floor-standing design, naturally commands a broader bass presence, yet it is the precision and speed of its bass response, courtesy of the aluminum cone drivers, that stands out.

Connectivity is an aspect where the two diverge significantly. The ELAC ARB51 Navis, being an active speaker, offers a variety of inputs including analog XLR and RCA, catering to high-end sources. The MartinLogan, being passive, relies on the connected amplifier's inputs, but this traditional route is well-suited for audiophiles who have already invested in a high-quality amplification system and are looking to maintain a purist signal path.

In conclusion, choosing between the ELAC ARB51 Navis and the MartinLogan Motion 20i is less about determining a clear winner and more about aligning with personal preferences and room requirements. The ELAC offers a refined, all-in-one solution that is easy to accommodate in smaller spaces, while the MartinLogan exudes a sense of grandeur, both in its physical form and open, airy soundstage. It ultimately boils down to whether one seeks the convenience and intimacy of powered bookshelf speakers or the expansiveness and customization offered by floor-standing towers.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.